Summary: Sprinkled with humorous illustrations, this expository sermon highlights three things for which every Christian should be thankful for: God's people, God's provision, and God's power. PowerPoint available.
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 11/18/2012
With only four days left until Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for this year? Multi-colored leaves on a crisp afternoon? Football? Turkey, cranberry-sauce, and pumpkin pie? Friends, family and freedom?
I read about a young family this week that had always spent Thanksgiving at grandma’s house. But this year, the young mother wanted to try cooking Thanksgiving dinner all by herself. Before serving the dinner, she announced: “Now I know this is the first turkey I’ve ever cooked. If it isn’t right, I don’t want anybody to say a word. We’ll just get up from the table without comment, and go out to eat for dinner.” Then she disappeared into the kitchen. When she came back into the dining room, bearing the turkey, she found her husband and son seated at the table—wearing their hats and coats.
I love Thanksgiving. It’s too bad that we only have one day a year set aside for expressing our gratitude, though. It seems like we fill up all the other days with grumbling and complaining. People love to complain. Did you know that there are websites you can go to just to complain about life (and I’m not talking about Facebook)? One of them has the tagline: “Remember, it’s better to vent your complaints on some website than actually try to resolve them in real life.”
This reminds me of a story about a grumpy old man who spent two dollars on a lottery ticket. To his surprise, he actually won! So he goes to the local lottery office to have his ticket number verified and claim his winnings. The old man walks in and says, “I want my $20 million.” The clerk replied, “No, sir. It doesn't work that way. We will give you a million today and then you'll get the rest spread out for the next 20 years.” So the old man starts complaining and demands to see the clerk’s supervisor. Again, the supervisor explains that he would only get a million that day and the rest over the next 20 years. The old man, furious with them both, throws down his ticket and shouts, “Look, I want my money! If you're not going to give me my $20 million right now, then I want my two dollars back!”
Maybe we could just start a new holiday called Grumbling Day. We could air all our complaints in one day, and then have 364 days to be thankful!
Thanksgiving really is a wonderful holiday because it does remind us to be thankful. Gratitude is a mark of godliness! As someone once said, “When we consider all God’s gifts and all that we possess, a grumbling mood of discontent gives way to thankfulness!”
The truth is—we all have something to be thankful for; most of us have more than we realize. The Bible has a lot to say about thankfulness. In fact, the word “thank/s” appears in the Bible in over 130 verses (NIV). One of those places is 1 Corinthians 1, where Paul is writing to the church in Corinth. Here’s what he says:
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:4-8 NIV)
In this brief paragraph, Paul highlights three blessing for which all Christians can be thankful. The first blessing that he highlights is God’s people.
• GOD’S PEOPLE
When you count your blessing this Thanksgiving, I hope that a loving church family is near the top of that list. Writing to a church that he helped plant, Paul says, “I always thank my God for you” (1 Corinthians 1:4 NIV).
I’ve said many times—all of us need a place to belong. All of us need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. All of us need to experience family and fellowship. That’s the way we’re made. Not to be isolated. Not to be alone. But to be together—experiencing life with others.
Pepper Rogers, coach of UCLA’s football team suffered through a poor season back in the 1970’s. He came under intense criticism and pressure from alumni and fans. Things got so bad that he felt as if all his friends were gone. “My dog was my only true friend,” he said. “I told my wife that every man needs at least two good friends–and she bought me another dog.”